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Thursday, 17 September 1936

Senator McLEAY (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I think the honorablesenator is- old enough to- appreciate what I mean. I seek to prevent any further abuses. Itis interesting to read what was said recently by a learned judge in giving judgment against the Commonwealth. His remarks have a very direct bearing upon the abuse of power.

Senator Brennan - All powers are capable, . of abuse.

Senator McLEAY - The learned judge said - - The point is- taken on express instructions from Canberra, who gave them I am not told, but I. am constrained to say that is neither fair, just, nor honest, for the department to raise the objection. Even a bureaucracy which Lord Hewart has described as the new Despotism with all its great strength should not be allowed to act tyrannously, but by its conduct should set an example of honour and justice.

One of the things most offensive to commercial men is the abuse of power by the Taxation Department. Frequently if a man is not satisfied with the assessment of his tax, and takes the matter to court, even if he wins he incurs a financial loss. That is absolutely wrong. I propose in committee to move- an amendment to clause 12. I ask the -Minister in charge of the bill whether, if the -Senate, accepts proposed new section- 48 which deals only or mainly with retrospective regulations, affecting accrued rights, as a definite policy and principle for the future, he will be prepared to apply the same principle to any retrospective regulations made prior to the passing, of this bill. It is illogical and unreasonable to say " Yes, we will accept this principle for the future, but we are not prepared to abide by it, so far as thepast is concerned, because in the broadcasting case costs were given against the Commonwealth Government." I trust the Minister will see his way clear to alter the clause in order to do justice and prevent abuses that might be perpetrated by a bureaucratic despot.

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